The Unbreakable Thread: Non-Racialism In South Africa

In This Review

The Unbreakable Thread: Non-Racialism In South Africa

By Julie Frederikse
Indiana University Press, 1990
294 pp. $37.50

This appealing book by a journalist turned popular historian uses extracts from a rich variety of interviews and documentary sources to demonstrate the long tradition of interracial cooperation against apartheid. Many forces in South Africa conspire toward hatred, violence, envy and mistrust. Yet certain features of South African history-including a Marxist intellectual tradition, the influence of Christianity (less credited by the author), the example set by outstanding white democrats and the recognition by many Africans that they need the resources and skills of non-Africans-exercise a pull toward racial tolerance and the long-term evolution of a common society and culture. This is an optimistic, often moving, book that succeeds in projecting the ideological principles associated with the African National Congress in their most idealistic light. Measured against the world's current epidemic of ethnic conflict, it would be astounding indeed if the political success story of the 1990s turns out to be South Africa.

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